Our response to the 2017 Spring Budget
Wednesday 8th March 2017
Responding to the Spring Budget on 8th March 2017, Chief Executive of the Wildlife Trusts, Stephanie Hilborne OBE, said:
“We had a close eye on the Budget for any changes that the Chancellor might have made to the Landfill Tax – and the Landfill Communities Fund that flows from it. This Fund is a highly innovative environmental tax credit scheme that provides much needed funds for community and environmental projects across the country.
“We called on the Treasury to use the Spring Budget to increase the amount of vital funds available to local communities and wildlife, by raising the diversion rate (the percentage of landfill tax allocated to the Communities Fund). We are delighted that the Government appear to have recognised the importance of the Fund, and have maintained its overall value through a slight increase in the diversion rate. However, we will continue to press the Government to go further, for the local communities and wildlife that depend on the Fund, in future Budgets.
“In the wider budget, we remain very concerned about the Government’s indication that it will be investing so much in new roads, rather than more sustainable forms of transport. We also have real concerns about further cuts earmarked for Government departments that are needed to deliver nature’s recovery, including the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for Communities and Local Government. Future Defra cuts are particularly worrying in the context of Brexit, given the huge amount of policy and legislation that falls within their remit which currently has root in our membership of the EU. An adequately-resourced Defra will be vital if the Government is to develop and deliver domestic policy and laws that lead to a brighter future for UK’s wildlife outside of the EU, and to deliver on its commitment for this to be the generation that leaves our environment in a better state than it inherited.”
Notes: Additional details on the Landfill Communities Fund and the fantastic projects that it enables can be seen here. The Wildlife Trusts had been asking for an increase in the diversion rate in the Spring Budget to 6% from its current 4.2%. The 6% figure is proposed by the Association of Distributive Environmental Bodies (ADEB – which represents practitioners distributing most of the funds) and is the average percentage of landfill tax allocated to the scheme since 2003, until its reduction to 4.2% in 2016. The Spring Budget 2017 announced a diversion rate of 5.3%.
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